Sweden appoints world’s first Global Health Ambassador

3 APRIL 2012 – The Swedish government has appointed the world’s first Ambassador for Global Health, underscoring the country’s desire to raise its profile in the area of health and increase its efforts towards achieving the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the run up to 2015. The newly created position was bestowed upon Anders Nordström, board member of PMNCH partner organizations the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), the GAVI Alliance and UNAIDS. Mr Nordström is a medical doctor, with a degree from the Karolinska Institut, and has held leading positions at the Red Cross, Sida and the World Health Organization.

“The appointment is an expression of the central role of health issues in Sweden’s development cooperation,” says Minister for International Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlsson. “I would like to see that we take a coherent approach to Sweden’s total health aid to see how we can develop and strengthen it with the objective of saving the lives of even more women and children.”

Achieving the MDGs plays a key role in Swedish development policy. Efforts related to MDGs 4–6 will be of particular relevance for the Global Health Ambassador.

The Global Health Ambassador will represent Sweden in contacts and dialogues with international organizations in the UN system, the EU, and the regional development banks when development-related health issues are on the agenda. Continued cooperation with the WHO will also be central to the new ambassador’s efforts.